Posted by: ritagone | June 11, 2014

Missing the Obvious

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The other day I was trying to follow instructions on my computer for taking what is called a “screenshot” of something – an Excel spreadsheet — that I wanted to send to my son. I wanted him to be proud of me because he would see that I had mastered something difficult (for me) and sophisticated (again, for me) all by myself, that I was up to the challenge of the mysterious (to me) technology of my computer.

I followed the instructions, all right, having googled “how to do a screenshot,” which sounded simple enough as I read it. People keep telling me that you can learn anything by googling it in the form of a question, kind of like on “Jeopardy,” so I thought I’d try it out. It works! The information appeared with instructions spelled out step by step. But I didn’t hear any clicking sounds, which I thought I would, simulating a camera capturing a photograph. So I kept hitting the same keys over and over again: command, shift, #3, or command, shift, #4 (depending on whether I was wanting the whole desktop photographed or just a segment, you see), back and forth, waiting for that magical click that would tell me that I had been successful. Don’t ask me why I had pre-determined that there would be a sound effect; I just “knew” that there would be.

Finally, frustrated, I gave up. I had been beaten. I called my son and gave him the information I was trying to get to him over the phone instead.

When I hung up, I did some other computer work, stuff that I’m rather good at because I’ve been doing it for many, many years, and then I closed down my documents, as I always do. And lo and behold, on my desktop were dozens and dozens of screenshots! I had mastered how to take them after all; I just didn’t hear the sound I expected to hear, so I assumed I wasn’t “getting it.”

Lesson learned: sometimes something right under your nose is working out right, and you just don’t see it. You think you’re stupid or ignorant, but you’re not. You’re just missing a cue, perhaps, or getting your signals crossed a bit.

But you need to relax and not be so hard on yourself. Take a deep breath and begin again.

Sometimes we’re more successful than we think we are. Smarter than we believe. More capable than someone else may have told us we were. Look around. Look more closely.

Think how many times I had gotten it right when all along I thought I had gotten it wrong.

Yes, lesson learned.

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